So here's a little-known fact about Marie-Antoinette: The doomed French monarch wasn't just a style inspiration and a soundbite machine ("Let them eat cake!"), she also inspired the shape of the classic round Champagne glass know as the coupe. Or her breasts did, anyway.
The coupe tends to get overshadowed by the Champagne flute these days, but it's still a darling of bartenders nationwide and often gets used for cocktails—although somehow its starry beginnings are shrouded in obscurity.
When Top Chef judge Gail Simmons visits San Francisco's iconic Tosca Cafe—in Episode 5 of Gail's Culinary Adventure, shot while she was filming the current season of Top Chef—she reflects on the coupe's racy history. Meanwhile she samples delicious dishes and drinks, like dandelion salad and minestrone from the cafe's recently revamped Italian menu, overseen by chef Josh Even and new owners Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield (of New York City's Spotted Pig, among others).
The glass isn't the only thing with a celebrity pedigree: Tosca itself, founded in 1919, is renowned as the site where Beat writers like Jack Kerouac used to hang out, and where everyone from Bob Dylan to Hunter S. Thompson and Francis Ford Coppola would stop in regularly. Rumor has it that Coppola wrote the Godfather screenplays in Tosca's bathroom. During the Prohibition years, Tosca became famous for its house "cappuccino," not-so-secretly spiked with brandy. But Tosca isn't just relying on its colorful history: It has stayed relevant through the ages with its fabulous food, coffee, cocktails and unbeatable North Beach setting. And that cappuccino? It's still on the menu.
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